As the air turns a little cooler and Christmas melodies hit the airwaves, the age-old question of what to buy for the angler in your life finds its way back into your thoughts. A general rule of thumb is to find out what style of fishing they enjoy. You can do this by inspecting their current collection of gear, peeking at any fishing publications they read, and, if all else fails– ask them. Before you make a purchase, conduct a little research online and at your local retailer. Here’s a few items that hopefully will make your holiday purchasing decisions a little easier.
For all anglers, regardless of the type of body of water they frequent or the species they love to reel in, good eyewear is a must. Costa Del Mar has a couple of models that are both fashionable and functional. For men, Costa’s Double Haul style has a new look–Realtree AP camo. The Double Haul features no-slip nose pads and front frame vents to alleviate lens fogging. They are available in all of Costa’s 580 lens varieties and as well as perscription format. Costa’s Double Haul with Realtree camo start at $179.00. Costa will keep the ladies looking good on the water as well. The Little Harbor style for women is available in a variety of frame colors, and also comes in Costa’s patented 580 lens technology. Costa’s Little Harbor starts at $169.00. For more information, visit www.costadelmar.com.
I’m not a rod snob, but after fishing with the Legend Xtreme–voted the 2012 ICAST best freshwater rod–I can truly say there is a difference. The versatility of this rod is unbelievable. I’ve fished it in Minnesota for northern pike, in Arkansas for largemouth bass, and recently for redfish and black drum in coastal Texas. And in all cases, the rod literally felt like an extension of my arm. I was blown away by the balance and featherweight yet powerful stick. It’s not a budget minded rod at $360, but it’s the first time I could justify spending pretty big bucks on a rod. Helping you qualify a Christmas purchase, St. Croix is running a special promotion where you buy two rods and receive a Rage series rod free. Now that’s beyond a stocking stuffer!
Another 2012 ICAST winner, Abu Garcia’s redesigned Revo baitcasting reel is insanely fun to fish. The Revo was first introduced seven years ago. The originals were game changers and the redesigns are even better–smaller, lighter and more powerful. The REVO represents absolute cutting-edge in baitcast reel technology. The Revo STX weighs just 6.46 ounces and is priced at $199 .
Frabill Rainsuit ($125 a piece)
You never know when you’ll have to ride out a squall or the bite will turn on in a downpour. Frabill has clutched back-to-back best new apparel wins at ICAST with the FXE Stormsuit and another built for the ice fishing crowd. Now they are back with a high quality, more affordable rendition called the Frabill Rainsuit. At under $300, it’s truly a bargain for matched jacket and bibs. Weatherproof, windproof, and protected with DuPont Teflon, this lighter weight rainsuit is still incredibly tough, constructed with 330 denier nylon. Designed by outerwear laureate Chris Leonard, the Frabill Rainsuit’s most impressive feature, though, is its comfortable, ergonomic fit.
Statistics indicate there are over 8 million catfish anglers nationwide. With a number like that, there’s a good chance that one of them is on your Christmas list. The best one stop shop for catfish-specific gear is rippinlips.net. For well under $100, you can totally wipe the whiskers off a catfish while being a true gift giver. When assembling your catfish Christmas basket you should include the following: Rippin Lips’ Keep Kool bait container is designed specifically to keep crawlers “kool” on the hottest southern day; Leakin’ Livers catfish bait is scientifically formulated to emit the most potent catfish sensory pleasers, in a no mess, easily hooked, cubed shape; spray on a dash of Scent Trail Fish Attractant and you’ve doubled the potency of your live bait or Leakin’ Livers; the Big Fish Gripper removes any fear of manhandling a gigantic cat; specially cut and sized circle hooks are crafted to put catfish in the bag; last but not least, Rippin Lips’ remarkable No Trace eliminates odors that offend scent sensitive catfish, such as tobacco, gasoline, bug spray, or even cheap cologne.
Hunters hide from their quarry with camouflage patterns such as Realtree and Mossy Oak, and anglers long felt left out. Now, they have a sporty, almost fashionable option called Fishouflage. The unique underwater panoramas are now available on select Plano soft-sided tackle bags. There are three different sizes of these functional and durable bags. Know that you have a true tackle solution and not just earning style points, because it’s crafted by Plano. All models feature rugged zippered pockets with Plano ProLatch StowAway boxes. Prices range from $35 to $70.
LifeProof iPhone case ($70+)
Important for communication and pretty handy when you want to take a photo of your latest catch, iPhones are carried by a lot of anglers. Water, the kryptonite of these phones, is a necessity for fishing. The LifeProof Company has engineered a product that takes the fear out of handling your iPhone while on the lake or wading chest deep in a river. The LifeProof case is waterproof, shatterproof and dustproof. You can even take underwater photos and movies with your phone when it’s protected in the LifeProof case. If you’re adding this case to your holiday shopping list, make sure you also purchase the LifeProof LifeJacket. This bright orange accessory lends buoyancy, so if the angler in your life drops their phone in the water, the iPhone will float safely until it can be retrieved.
Humminbird 386ci DI Combo ($399.99)
Merging premium sonar and digital mapping is now affordable to the everyday angler. Humminbird’s 386ci DI Combo features enhanced Down Imaging and advanced DualBeam sonar with GPS Chartplotting. Digital mapping is what really makes Humminbird standout against comparably priced fishing electronics. With a state and regionally specific LakeMaster chip, you are able to zoom in on bottom structure in one-foot increments. Catch a fish, drop a waypoint, and return another day to find the next fish in the same spot. The Humminbid 386ci DI Combo retails at $399.99. LakeMaster digital mapping chips are sold separately.
Fishing kits (price varies)
Fishing kits are one of the best ways to share the Christmas spirit and virtually guarantee there’s something for everyone. Northland Tackle offers a wide array of technique specific, preselected fishing kits. The Bemidji, Minnesota based company really knows how to satisfy the ice angler. Choose from eight custom ice fishing kits all priced under $20. Bro’s Panfish Kit, hand selected by hardwater icon Brian “Bro” Brosdahl, is one of the most popular. Saltwater staple DOA Lures now offers a 60 piece freshwater kit with tackle box. Knowing DOA, you can expect this selection of bass oriented, freshwater plastics, hooks, and jigs to rival anything they produce for the surf. MSRP $17.95.
Bass Lure Assortment Stocking ($19.99)
Most any angler will love the Bass Lure Assortment Stocking, which includes baits from YUM, Booyah and others. And you, the giver will love it just as much at $19.99. Plus, everything comes packaged in a Christmas stocking.
And, if you want to give the gift that keeps on giving—no it’s not the fruitcake of the month club—sign that extra special angler up for a Fishhound membership. Fishhound introduces anglers to some of the coolest gear on the market. You get to try out new fishing gear to include lures, rods, and apparel. Members can select gear the moment they join. Once a member, your angler becomes part of an online community that shares fishing intel, the best local fishing reports, exclusive member discounts, and stories and blogs by fishing industry experts. In the holiday spirit, Fishhound is offering an annual membership for only $29.95–that’s $10 off the regular price of $39.95. Visit www.fishhound.com for more details.
Fourteen hundred words later and a dozen gift giving recommendations, your shopping season just got shorter. That said, I hope this makes your buying decisions easier, it will for me.
Images courtesy respective manufacturers/suppliers